Rod Liddle

Rod Liddle: Under New Labour, it really was the loony left

28 September 2013

9:00 AM

28 September 2013

9:00 AM

There is a little vignette in the first volume of Alastair Campbell’s diaries that makes it abundantly clear that, at the time, we were being governed by people who were mentally ill. It is yet another furious, bitter, gut-churning row involving Campbell, Tony Blair and Peter Mandelson and concludes with Mandelson stamping his little feet and screaming: ‘I am sick of being rubbished and undermined! I hate it! And I want out.’ The cause of this dispute was not whether or not Labour should nationalise the top 200 companies and secure for the workers by hand or by brain the full fruits of their industry. Don’t be silly. It was about whether Blair should wear a suit and tie to deliver a speech or if, instead, he should put on a nice pair of cords. Mandelson was in favour of the cords, by the way.

It is impossible to read this sort of thing without coming to the conclusion that the most senior elements of New Labour were mad as hatters, candidates for a longish stay in the booby-hatch. I do not mean mad-eccentric, as in the manner of some Ukip councillor who thinks women should be exterminated or something. I mean seriously damaged, deeply troubled people. If you read on through those diaries, this view is amply confirmed: these awful, awful people who are perpetually wracked with a paranoid fury, drunk or constipated or hunched over the toilet bowl with their fingers down their throats or visited by the Black Dog of depression, or ulcerated or prostate on some sofa to banish the clamorous headaches. And of course continually lying to one another when they weren’t lying to the rest of us, continually stitching each other up, dissolving in a vat of their own bile.

There have been plenty of diaries emanating from the rule of New Labour (and its hilariously incompetent vestigial tail presided over by the maddest of them all, Gordon Brown) by various unelected and now dispossessed political munchkins, most of them expressing a commercially expedient contrition along with the grotesque outrages, the infractions of democracy, the utter contempt not just for the electorate but also for most of their elected MPs.

The latest comes from a saturnine pudding-faced thug called Damian McBride, who worked as a hatchet man for the greatest man on earth (in McBride’s somewhat contentious view), Gordon Brown. This oaf’s revelations are being serialised in a morning newspaper, all the usual toxic leaks designed to destroy his comrades’ careers, and  the usual emetic hands-up-guv-I-shuddna-dunnit faux apology. McBride, who was finally kicked out of his job for inventing filth about various high-profile Conservative politicians is not really apologetic, of course. Far from it; he simply wishes to sell his book and knows that in order to do so it must be seen as a confession rather than an elongated boast. The extent of his contrition can be gauged from the timing of publication — first day of the Labour conference, thus designed to wreak maximum havoc on the party of which he was, and possibly still is, a member. Just like the stuff he used to do for Gordon, in other words. And also, lest it should be in doubt, his defensiveness when held to account by some of those he undermined, such as the shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander. McBride is no more sorry than is Alastair Campbell; like Alastair, he just wishes to trouser as much dosh as is humanly possible from his tawdry revelations.

I suppose the political correspondents will tell you that the source of that paranoid fury on both sides, Blair and Brown, was the deal or no deal which took place between the two at the Granita restaurant in Islington. From that, all manner of madness sprang. Blair’s disingenuous promise, Brown’s lowering, semi-restrained fury. But I think this is probably putting the cart before the horse. My guess is that long before that dinner each was, as the Americans put it, crazier that a shithouse rat.

A megalomaniac on one side, a paranoiac devoid of even the most primitive vestiges of human sociability on the other. Tony Blair retreating upstairs at key moments to talk to God, and no doubt telling Him, in an affable manner, just where He was going wrong, is but one example of what I would call certifiable behaviour. Not certifiable because Blair believed in God, but because of the nature of his relationship with God, whom our Prime Minister seemed to treat as he would a low- to middle- ranking cabinet minister. Keith Hill, say, or at best Frank Dobson.

And on both sides the loathing — of their own colleagues, of the press, of the electorate. Campbell describes the late Philip Gould, party strategist, as wishing to ‘punch’ members of a focus group when they deigned to disagree with official party policy. Campbell is on record as describing the entire electorate as ‘not serious people’ when they, too, showed signs of not being on message. This messianic aloofness from the real world was bound, in the end, to turn all the participants doolally, so perhaps we should not be too hard on Mr McBride. But has there ever been an administration in British history where everyone hated one another so much? I think you’d have to go back to Edward IV.

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  • David Lindsay

    The Granita dinner never happened. There really was a meeting in County Hall, Durham. But that is beyond the comprehension of the London media. I know people who were there, though.

    The ridiculous official story of how Blair got the Sedgefield seat is not true, either.

    What is, is that he had been all ready to announce his departure from Parliament until the moment that he heard that John Smith had died.

    That is common knowledge up here; they had even started to look for a replacement, because, again, I know people who were approached. But it is not in either of the approved hagiographies. Well, of course it isn’t.

    • rtj1211

      well is it true that he was one ‘Charles Lynton’ who was convicted of picking up a bloke in a public lavatory for sexual purposes, then??

      I’ve read it too often to mark it down as gossip: it’s either true or its the MI6/CIA/Mossad/FSB machine which believes that every government minister who doesn’t do their bidding is a paedophile or a homosexual pervert.

    • Fergus Pickering

      I know a man who knows a man who knows. A nudge is as good as a wink from a blind horse. I could tell you what Robin Cook said to me about the mad paedophile Broon. Know what I mean?

      • george

        No. Why don’t you spill the beans?

      • The Police know a thing or two as well…so I hear…oh to get a few disgruntled officers to let slip just who from the Westminster bubble does/did what.

      • David Lindsay

        There are no nudges and winks about it. Everyone up here who has ever been politically active to any great extent knows these things. We just laugh at the silly London media and their made up version of events in which they themselves always have to be the point. I am told that a very similar attitude is taken in Scotland.

    • “…until the moment that he heard that John Smith had died”

      Yes, how convenient…had to get the New Labour Project started somehow didn’t they.

      • Mukkinese

        Are you implying that they actually killed off Smith?

        • Neil Saunders

          The very idea! Span Ows will be claiming next that Dr David Kelly’s death was suspicious. Wait a minute, though…

  • sarah_13

    So true.

  • Noa

    Do you really want to see the Labour party, and the mad collection of ‘Brown’s shitouse rats’ that now run it, back in government, Rod?

    • Mukkinese

      A “shithouse rat” would be preferable to the granny-selling, self-serving incompetents we now suffer under…

      • Ridcully

        It wouldn’t.
        It really wouldn’t.

  • Cornelius Bonkers

    Rod, I’m finding it very difficult to imagine why – except for any residual nostalgia for you roots, and I understand this – you could possibly want Labour to triumph in 2015? I think it would pay you back in spades to explain this to your many admirers. Or is it a simple matter of the “lesser of two/three/…four weevils”? Of course, it could be the copy their suicidal shinannigans (spelling?) will most definitely provide you with into the distant future. Please tell!

    • george

      I think there’s an E in there, Bonkers. As in Shenandoah. Shenanigans. The definition of shenanigan is: two sheboygans more than a conniption.

      • Cornelius Bonkers

        Thanks G, spelling duly noted. Sheboygans/conniption – mmm! Do you think I ought to know something about these terms? Will it be of benefit?

        • george

          Not really, no. Conniption is a state of agitation caused by a misfortune — a fit, basically. Sheboygan is a place in America, one of those faintly ridiculous place-names that America specializes in (e.g. Oshkosh in Winnebago County, Wisconsin). Sheboygan is also in Wisconsin, but sounds like a Yiddish word to me (‘eh, he’s a real sheboygan’). The connection between the two is a joke: there isn’t one. But I was with a friend, there was a mishap, and I said I was only two sheboygans away from a conniption. See, I’ve just lost you half a minute of your life.

          • Cornelius Bonkers

            A loss of half a minute maybe G, but I won’t have a conniption over it. As a matter of interest, on the question of ridiculous American place-names, is there such a place as Pigsknuckle Arkansas?

          • george

            I wouldn’t rule it out, B.

  • david17606

    The silly remark about UKIP tells me how insightful the author is.

  • rtj1211

    Actually, it was the Stasi.

  • The_greyhound

    Perhaps Tesco could sell a New Labour instead of a metal patient outfit for Halloween. With a face mask of the Blair rictus grin of course.

    Considerably more scary.

  • Simon Fay

    Excellent stuff, Rod, but still far far far too kind to that shower of toxic shit requiring a collective action resulting in their burial further down than the dregs of Sellafield.

  • george

    You mean Old Labour ISN’T Loony Left?

    I’m starting a collection for the Save the Liddle Fund. A man with all the sense not to be a socialist and yet somehow sentiment gets in the way.

    As for ‘as the Americans put it’, I’d offer a slight correction. Some Americans somewhere (probably Nowhere, or Podunk as we Americans say) speak of ‘crazier than a sh+thouse rat’. But I for one have never heard it, nor ever would say it. Contrary to what the world seems to think, we are not all attracted to unattractive language. My favourite ‘crass’ Americanism, because it speaks a truth that non-frontiersmen feel they need not confront, is some varmints just need killin’.

    • ScaryBiscuits

      It should be a ‘save the socialist’ fund. I see the symptoms campaigning as a councillor. They agree with everything you say but then say they’ll vote Labour. When you ask why, the reason is invariably that their parents did.

      • george

        It’s pathetic, isn’t it? I don’t do anything any more because my parents did. And neither of them has any idea about politics. One is principled but wrong, the other is uneducated, uninterested, and wishy-washy. What a team (they’re divorced).

  • Titus__Pullo

    You’re a braver man than I Rod to read the propaganda these lunatics and war criminals publish. Who in the right mind could pick up a book written by Alaistair Campbell and not have the immediate need to throw up? As someone who lived through the New Labour years I have no desire to re-live the insanity. I just hope you didn’t part with any money when acquiring these Quisling’s memoirs.

    • Mukkinese

      Who in their right mind would read the Sun, the Mail or the Express?

      • alpspitz1

        Or the Mirror or Independent or i. They are all comics now more interested in celebrities and wannabee celebrities and the stupid half of this country buy them.

        • Cornelius Bonkers

          “The stupid” – only a half? Think again…

      • Cornelius Bonkers

        Well Muk, the answer might be – those who want to get a grip on the deranged “thought processes” of the general population who read them. Regrettably, the same question might be legitimately asked of readers of the Guardian, Independent (the employer of that hideous little s..t Owen Jones) and Observer. My best suggestion is that to combat this trend towards imbecility, each of the Queen’s subjects might be treated – by the taxpayer – to a year’s subscription to THE SALISBURY REVIEW and see how that goes…

      • Ricky Strong

        To “read the Sun”, is that not an oxymoron? Surely one can only look through the Sun.

        • Neil Saunders

          My late father once said, apropos The Sun, that page three was for those who couldn’t read and the rest of the paper was for those who couldn’t think.

  • Badly Done Emma

    Rod, do you mean ‘prostate’ or ‘prostrate the sofa’? Being a woman I can only do the latter…..

    • Max07

      Yes indeed. For or a moment or two I thought that Rod had segued from Nu Labour into a discourse on another unsavoury disease, that of the ulcerated prostate.

  • Ricky Strong

    You start your article talking about a pathetic little spat within the Labour party yet find it necessary to spell UKIP as Ukip. Speaks volumes.

    • rodliddle

      It doesn’t really, does it, “Ricky”?

      • Ricky Strong

        Careful there Rod, your sarcasm has previous convictions.

  • Nick

    Alastair Campbell and Damian Mcbride are the antithesis of what is wrong with our government.
    What did these creatures actually do for a living? What was their job of work? Did they make something that we need? Did they provide a service that we need?
    No,they just went in and out of Downing Street causing as much trouble as possible and getting paid a bomb to do so.
    And who are todays equivalents of Macbride and Campbell?
    People getting paid a load of money for doing nothing.And we moan about tin pot third world dictators like Kim Jong Un,Ahmadinejad (if that’s how it’s spelt) and that nutter Mugabe.

    • disqus_JXTaH3N9kU

      Are you sure you mean “antithesis”, Nick ?

      • Nick

        Oh hang on,I’ll get the dictionary out…….

      • Nick

        HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!! I’m laughing my tits off at myself.What’s the flipping word I’m after?
        In the meantime I’ll swop antithisis for….perfect examples.
        Thank you for pointing that out;-)

        • disqus_JXTaH3N9kU

          epitome ?

          • Nick

            That’s the one…..And I promise to do what my teacher always added to the end of my school report…….Must try harder;-)

  • arnoldo87

    Another measured piece from Rod that is totally devoid of hyperbole, personal animosity and apochrypha.

    • rodliddle

      Glad you enjoyed it as usual, Arnoldo.

  • Graeme S

    Never , never let people forget about Nu Labour and its cabal of wan**rs. Where were the media when all this was happening, where was the rapier journalism !! MSM fouled up immeasurably and let these bastards off the hook

  • allymax bruce

    I watched the Andrew Neil interview of McBride last week, and I knew immediately McBride was trying to give it, as you say, Rod, “hands-up-guv-I-shuddna-dunnit faux apology”. McBride, like most of his Labour colleagues, hasn’t got an honest bone in their body; they would sell their granny, never mind the soul of ‘British’ politics, to the highest bidder. I sincerely do believe this ‘oaf’ will try and do a ‘hatchet job’ on his fellow ‘comrades’! I mean, why else would Ali Campbell be ‘squirming’? Labour; Mad as a bunch of frogs. Even their lies are being seen through now; nobodies gives Labour the benefit of the doubt now; hence their traducing of the Energy policy!